Sunday, August 7, 2011

Greetings from Weardale,

Friday was warm and sunny, and about as good as the weather gets around here. Yesterday we had cold torrential rain, with some thunder and lightning thrown in for added effect. This morning it is windy and cool with the occasional shower. We are in the North Pennines, aren’t we?

After our successful collecting day on Thursday, we turned the main face over to Dave to begin the next cycle of drilling, blasting mucking out and timbering. Unfortunately, things rarely go completely as planned and Friday was no exception. The large rock we had barred out into the middle of the tunnel firmly resisted all of Dave’s efforts to reduce it to a manageable size, and we will likely need to resort to some applied chemistry and blast it at the same time we do the full face. The offending rock is featured in today’s photo. While trying to muscle the thing about with the Eimco, one of the cables on the Eimco’s bucket broke, further delaying the proceedings. Toward the end of the day Dave installed a timber roof in part of the alcove we have dug while collecting in the pocket zone. There was a large patch of mud with layers of green fluorite showing, which looked quite promising. With some timbering in place the hope was that we should now be able to collect over the weekend in relative safety.

With that in mind, we showed up yesterday in the pouring rain with hopes of repeating Thursday’s success. Because of the calcite that seems to have cemented much of the rock and mud in the pocket, the collecting was a slow and laborious process, but by around 1400 we had recovered three good specimens and a number of other lesser bits. About this time we realized that we had extended the pocket to the point where yet another roof rock was in danger of coming down. Backing out of the pocket, it took only minor persuading with a long bar to dislodge it. At this point we decided to let everything settle a bit in the pocket and thought to set up the diamond chain saw and work on our accumulation of large bits. After being confronted with just how miserable the weather was, no one felt up to the ordeal, so we closed up early and came back to the cottage to get warm and dry.

Cal and Kerith met up with Dave and his wife Sandra for supper in the evening. Both Ian and I were feeling more than a little tired, so we hung out at the cottage for a bit, then went to the pub for a pint and some chat.

This morning Cal is playing tour guide at the mine to a mineral club from the Peaks District in Derbyshire. After finishing this quick report I’ll go in and try to get the chain saw fired up and some large specimens made smaller. Hopefully the rain will hold off for a bit.

Cheers,

Jesse & Crew



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